Dr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, the Executive Director, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), says the cost of food production in Ghana has quadrupled this year as compared to 2021, throwing many farmers out of business and driving up food prices.
He said many business-like minded people, who enrolled on the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs), were also dropping out and attributed the cause to the incessant increase in the cost of fertilizer, agrochemicals and tractor services.
“The 50 kilogrammes bag of government’s subsidised fertilizer that we used to buy for GH₵53.00 is going for GH₵320.00. The price of agrochemicals has increased from GH₵25.00 to GH₵60.00 while tractor service for ploughing one acre of land also increased from GH₵120.00 to GH₵300.00,” he revealed.
He said the failure of the government to settle the debts of fertilizer importers was one of the major factors of fertilizer shortage in the country as many importers had refused to supply the farmers with fertilizers after several engagements.
“You will not believe that what the fertilizer importers supplied in 2020, the government still owes them GH₵86million and this excludes what has been processed to be paid while GH₵260million is owed them for what they supplied in 2021,” he added.
The Executive Director said if the government did not intervene to address the challenge, it could lead to low food production and escalate the rising food prices currently experienced in the country which would compel consumers to pay more in order to survive.
“Farmers are business people, so, if you invest in it and your cost of production goes up, you will also shift the cost to the consumers, so consumers should be prepared to pay more for food come 2023 because as it stands now people are complaining that food prices are high,” he added.
Dr Nyaaba made these known to the Ghana News Agency at Kayoro in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region on the sidelines of the maiden Kayoro Sorghum Farmers Awards ceremony, organised by PFAG.
Dr Nyaaba said the PFAG had several engagements with the fertilizer importers and the Ministry of Agriculture, to help find solutions to the problem but all efforts proved futile.
He said agriculture was the engine of socio-economic growth and development and had the potential to boost the recovery of the economy from the quagmire it was currently in and appealed to the government to address the rising cost of production by paying monies owed importers to allow them to begin distributing fertilizer to farmers.
“If this is done and the cost of production comes down, we the farmers are willing to produce enough to ensure that we have enough supply to offset the increasing demand,” he added.
Meanwhile, the government had blamed the shortage of fertilizer on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a rise in the fertilizer on the world market and the recent invasion of Russia on Ukraine.
About 100 farmers from the Kayoro Traditional Area received various prizes including knapsack sprayers, smartphones, PFAG branded clothes and T-shirts for their efforts in the production of sorghum in 2021.